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Greg Brown fans and lovers of Lucinda Williams's Essence CD will be familiar with the spacious, minimalist roots sound of Iowan guitarist Bo Ramsey's production hand; a lucky few will have even picked up Ramsey's own In the Weeds record. The Iowa sound (who knew?) now expands to include Brown's daughter, Pieta. The younger Brown's songs are a litany of loss that might be too much if not for an underlying toughness in her breathless vocals that recalls Chrissie Hynde as much as any obvious comparisons to Lucinda. Brown and Ramsey offer a sound deeply rooted in the blues, where songs of loss are traditionally cathartic and redemptive rather than whining. The brilliance of this disc, though--aside from its gorgeous sound--lies in Brown's offbeat but dead-on phrasing and slightly skewed song structure, which combines with Ramsey's pithy, supportive guitar work to create a beautiful vision of how roots music might fit comfortably into the modern world. --Michael Ross
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Pieta has not lived long enough to write with the depth and vigor that her dad brings to his lyrics, and it isn't fair to expect her to--without the decades of life experience, she still brings a lot to the table.
What struck me most was the depths of her bluesy voice, husky and delicious. Bo Ramsey's guitar work is quintessential Bo Ramsey, spare and haunting, and it captures the melancholy and the magic in Pieta's voice very well.
Overall this is an album worth a listen on it's own merit, as Pieta is on a strong start to a career that will hopefully be as long and and varied as her father's.